New Immigration law / New bill on discrimination testing / Revision of the European Works Council Directive

Published on : 22/02/2024 22 February Feb 02 2024

New Immigration law 

A new immigration law of January 26, 2024, allows greater flexibility for the hiring of non-EU employees in sectors of activity facing work shortages and for inter-group transfers but also higher sanctions in case of non-compliance with immigration rules.

Thus, the law institutes a temporary regularization scheme for illegal foreign workers employed in jobs in short supply, which will run until December 31, 2026. A new administrative fine has been introduced to replace the special contribution and flat-rate contribution levied by the Office Français de l'Immigration et de l'Iintégration (OFII). The fine will be no more than 5,000 times the hourly rate of the guaranteed minimum (i.e. a maximum of €20,750 in 2024) per foreign worker concerned. At the same time, the criminal fine for employing a foreigner without a work permit has been raised from €15,000 to €30,000 per foreign worker concerned, and its scope has been extended to cover the employment of a foreigner in a professional category, occupation, or geographical area other than those mentioned on his or her work permit.

Lastly, the law provides for a number of measures to help companies provide French-language training for foreign workers, whose mother tongue is a foreign language.

New bill on discrimination testing 

Adopted by the French Parliament's National Assembly in December 2023, a new bill is currently under review by the Senate. The law would allow a new type of statistical testing with mandatory remedial action imposed on companies in case of test results demonstrating discriminatory practices and a maximum fine equal to 1% of the company's total wage bill in case of non-compliance.

Revision of the European Works Council Directive

The European Commission has submitted its draft amendment to the European Works Council Directive of May 6, 2009, which sets out the procedures for setting up and informing or consulting these bodies on transnational issues. The stated aim of this revision is to strengthen transnational social dialogue by encouraging "more constructive" information-consultation. 

Among the proposed changes envisaged by the Commission: before adopting any decision on transnational issues, management would have to send a reasoned response to the opinion of the European Works Council, and provide explanations whenever confidentiality is invoked to limit the transmission of information. The draft would also require Member States to take measures to achieve a balanced composition between women and men, which may be difficult to implement in practice when a country's delegation to the European Works Council comprises just one member. Lastly, the draft aims to clarify the definition of transnational issues, "ensuring that European Works Councils and national information and consultation bodies complement each other and do not duplicate each other".

Next steps: The Commission's proposal amending the European Works Council Directive is due to be examined by the European Parliament and the Member States. Once the directive has been adopted, Member States will have one year to transpose it into national law. The new rules would then become applicable 2 years later. 


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